Minimizing God: Missing The Real Jesus



There is something very dangerous happening within the church today. A hazardous mistake that many of us are prone to make. Initially I was going to call this a dangerous trend, but in actuality this has been happening amongst God’s people ever since God has had a people. So what am I talking about? (The title of this post should give you a hint.)

Minimizing God.

When I speak of minimizing God, I’m not speaking in this case about our mistaken priorities, and even idolatry. Surely this too is a problem, and what I am about to discuss could definitely lead us further into this deadly trap. But for now, what I mean by the phrase “minimizing God” is the way in which we all tend to take one attribute of God’s character and elevate it above every other attribute.

For instance, there are some Christians who want to discuss nothing but God’s mercy. Others seem to speak of nothing but the judgment of God. Others say God is a God of love, and say they could never serve a God of wrath. But what does the Bible say? Is God loving, or is he wrathful? Is God a God of mercy, or is he a God of judgment? Well, what if I were to tell you the answer is yes?

God is all of these. God is Love. God is merciful. But God also judges, and God also pours out his wrath. Our God is just that big. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the Scriptures.

God of mercy:

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespases, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved…” Ephesians 2:4-5

God of judgment:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

God of wrath:

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36

God of love:

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Within God, we see all of these attributes. God is a God of love, a God of wrath, a God of judgment, and a God of mercy. God exhibits all of these attributes, and does so perfectly. And now I want to take it a step further…

Some of you probably noticed I only quoted from the New Testament. I did this intentionally. I have heard some people say, even some people who call themselves Christians things like, “The God of the New Testament is different from the God of the Old Testament.” Or, “Well, God is full of wrath in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament we just see grace.”

I’m not going to spend a lot of time here, simply because this is ridiculous. The Bible says time and time again that God doesn’t change. The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. This being true, we have to keep in mind that Jesus Himself was and is God, and therefore exhibits all of these attributes of God in himself. As Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God…” And Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…”

So many times people act as if Jesus was some feel good hippie who never judged a soul, or never called out the sin he saw in others. But Jesus is the one who stormed into the temple swinging a whip and flipping tables.(John 2:15) Jesus is the one who said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”(John 8:11) Jesus is the one who will judge the sin of the world, the living and the dead.(Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Timothy 4:1) So, just as God exhibits mercy and judgment, love and wrath…So too does Jesus. You can’t separate any of these divine attributes from who they are. You can’t elevate one attribute above the other. When you do, you are minimizing who God is in his very person. You are making the God of the universe, who was revealed to us perfectly in the person of Jesus Christ, smaller than he really is. This is extremely dangerous.

We must worship the God of the Bible. Not the God of our own minds. All of us are in danger of falling into this trap. I would dare say, all of us have fallen into this trap at one time or another. Maybe we are there now. This is why it is so important for us to continually study the Scriptures and seek the face of God in prayer. This is why we must be continually seeking to know Christ and seeking to abide in Him and His Word.

God revealed to us through Christ is not a one dimensional God. He is a beautiful multifaceted diamond, that grows more and more beautiful at every angle.





A quick rant(and a thought) regarding Amendment One

Christians believe ‘marriage’ is a religious institution…Christians believe marriage was created and defined by God. If this is true, then it should look like God wanted it to look. To say that people who are Christians should not vote according to their religious beliefs is unfair. You may disagree with those beliefs…but you can’t tell them to leave them at home when they go into a voting booth. Christians are to live and vote according to their biblical convictions. We may disagree with what the Bible says, but we can’t deny what it says.

That being said, I was not really supportive of this amendment. Mainly because I didn’t think it changed things one way or the other…which is why I think it should have been left off the ballot. It is also why I think people should chill the heck out…because when they woke up today, absolutely nothing is different. Even the issue of healthcare and protection against victims of domestic violence has not changed, nor will it. This was simply a scare tactic used by those who wanted this amendment voted down.

Like I said though, I wasn’t supportive of this amendment…and I am a Christian. I do believe marriage is a religious institution and is between 1 man and 1 woman….My question is though- Is this an issue to be decided by the government? Perhaps we should simply take ‘marriage’ out of the public/political discussion…Perhaps we should allow for civil unions across the board for all consenting adults. Give ‘marriage’ to the churches and allow church bodies to bless and recognize ‘marriage’ as their convictions may see fit.

Just a thought.

I think Keller just nailed me…

I’m currently reading Timothy Kellers, “Counterfeit Gods.” Wonderful, convicting, and challenging book. I was reading tonight and the following passages really stuck out to me as he began discussing the idols that many Christians and Christian communities have set up, and the damage it has and is doing. You can find it on pages 131-133 in the book.

“An idol is something that we look to for things that only God can give. Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake. The sign that you have slipped into this form of self-justification is that you become what the book of Proverbs calls a “scoffer.” Scoffers always show contempt and disdain for opponents rather than graciousness. This is a sign that they do not see themselves as sinners saved by grace. Instead, their trust in the rightness of their views makes them feel superior…

Wow, I think Keller nailed me. I like to think I don’t have this issue, but when I search myself and am really honest with myself, there are many times that the above passage here sums me up quite well. Forgive me Lord, I am indeed a sinner, in need of Your grace.

“…the Enlightenment abandoned religious orthodoxy and put in God’s place things like the American system or individual self-fulfillment. The results have not been good. Putting Nation in place of God leads to cultural imperialism, and putting Self in the place of God leads to many of the dysfunctional dynamics we have discussed throughout this book. Why did our culture largely abandon God as its hope? I believe it was because our religious communities have been and continue to be filled with these false gods. Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to constant internal conflict, arrogance and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ. These toxic effects of religious idolatry have led to widespread disaffection with religion in general and Christianity in particular. Thinking we have tried God, we have turned to other Hope, with devastating consequences.”

Again, I think Keller nailed me, and many people I know. Certainly a need for much repentance within the Church…

I encourage everyone, especially Christian leaders to go out and get this book.